Wednesday , 18 July 2018
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Best gaming PC deals: Desktops that offer better value than DIY

Replacing an aging DIY gaming PC is a grim prospect these days. Prices for graphics cards and memory have shot into the stratosphere, with no relief in sight. If you can’t delay an upgrade, your best bet right now is to skip the DIY route entirely and instead buy a well-priced pre-built desktop system.

Vendors purchase their components on a wholesale scale, so they’re not affected by current market conditions. Because their PCs are priced accordingly, giving up the customization of a DIY build will save you serious cash—provided you find a good deal on a pre-built desktop system. Dell, HP, Lenovo, iBuyPower, and other vendors offer plenty of configurations, and not all of them provide solid bang for the buck.

To save you time, I dug through the current options and found the best deals for pre-built 1080p, 1440p, and 4K gaming PCs. (Crushing prices have yet to reach the budget graphics cards, so for now, you can still DIY in that range with minimal markup.) Be aware that these prices won’t last indefinitely, so if you’re interested in a system, don’t take too long to decide.

Cheapest 1080p desktop gaming PC

Option A: Lenovo Legion Y20 Cube

lenovo legion y720 Lenovo

Lenovo Legion Y720 Cube with Intel Core i5-7400 Radeon RX 480 8GB

Currently, graphics cards that let you play at 1080p/60 fps aren’t cheap. The street prices for 1080p cards like the Radeon RX 570, Radeon RX 580, and Nvidia GTX 1060 hover between $400 and $750—typically, double their MSRP at minimum. Painful.

In fact, it’s so bad that buying one of these pre-built 1080p desktop systems costs as much as buying its graphics card alone. Our first pick, a clearance item on Lenovo’s site, is $720 for a quad-core Core i5-7400, 8GB of DDR/2400 memory, 1TB 7,200rpm hard disk drive, and an 8GB Radeon RX 480. Sure, the RX 480 is an older version of the RX 580 with slightly lower clock speeds, but buying it independently would still cost you an insane $730—as much as an RX 580.

Given that the RX 480 offers performance fairly close to that of the RX 580, snagging a system with the 8GB variant for $720 is a pretty sweet deal. The only potential drawback of this mini-ITX PC is its 7th-generation Intel Kaby Lake processor, because you won’t be able to upgrade easily to an 8th-generation Coffee Lake CPU down the road.

Option B: Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop

dell inspiron Dell

Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop (Model 5675)

If upgrading later to a processor with more cores is of higher importance than framerates, our other pick will be a better fit. Right now, the Dell Inspiron Gaming 5675 is available for $693 after using coupon code TENOFF. This particular configuration comes with a quad-core Ryzen 5 1400 processor, 8GB of DDR4/2400 memory, 1TB 7,200rpm hard disk drive, and a 4GB Radeon RX 570.

Normally this system sells for $850, but even comparing that price to current DIY component costs makes it look like a good deal. Building an equivalent system costs almost $1,100—and that’s provided you file and receive all of your rebates. Even if you save on Windows 10 by buying a code through Kinguin (a platform that allows people to resell their software licenses), you’re looking at about $1,000.

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